Cape Hatteras, NC

August, 2014

Ursula Strauss
John Scofield
Susan Scofield
Jean Scofield Maxwell
Alexander Maxwell
Felix Evander Maxwell
Lily Strauss
Kayleigh Hillert
Gertrude the dog

Cape Hatteras is a place that colors and punctuates our family history like no other than home.  Evan’s first visit was in utero, his second at two months and he only missed one summer in his life that I can recall, the summer of 2011 when we gave Maine a try. I’ve been thinking about writing this for a year and a half and what’s coming won't read like it’s had that much thought. It was a very simple moment. Whenever I try to share words and thoughts about our Hatteras scatter, my mind wanders into countless memories. I remember a boy who always had absurd confidence about the ocean. I see him rolling his eyes, exasperated as I offered daily vacation advisories about sharks, currents, red flags, undertow and safety. I remember a boy who once thought we were magic because kites go up easily there and stay up. Hatteras to us has always been large gatherings of family and friends, beach and pool, weirdos and rednecks, sun and boats, fish, films, crafts, puzzles, music, meals and respite from our normal lives. So many sandcastles over the decades and ever a young Evan favorite – digging a big hole on the beach. Older Evan favorite, digging a hole for an evening firepit.  He loved how temporary all of that was – finding his work gone in the morning -ready to begin digging anew.

In keeping with what he enjoyed, on a sunny August day in 2014, we sent up a kite and all trooped down to the beach. We dug a hole just beyond the line of the incoming tide. We poured him in. A curious Gertrude wanted to look in the hole and was pushed aside – the typical informality that comes with our tribe. We built a sandcastle over it. We stood, we sat and we said our goodbyes as we watched the ocean wipe the space and take him away. As far as I’m concerned, this Scatter was not ours so much as the Atlantic’s. He always felt that the ocean was a close friend.  

  - Susan Scofield


One night in Hatteras, Susan and I had gone to bed and the kids stayed up late. Jeannie had Alex and friends along. Evan was probably 17 and his best friend Jake Lewis was with us. We were asleep when Evan woke us up with, "In case you hear noise, some drunk guy walked in the house but we've got him locked outside now on the front porch! He's drunk and looking for his bike and we've got it covered!" Despite his confidence, we got up anyway.

This was a hilarious night in hindsight. The drunk local was a guy named Bart and he busied himself on the porch tossing and smashing several JFK rockers down two stories to the driveway until the local police arrived 45 minutes later and took him away. We've all laughed about it for years. We also started locking the doors at night.

The last summer we went with Evan he brought his banjo and we played and sang together. I remember him bald from treatment and he blew my mind with his perfect pitch and infallible memory for song. He was a great natural musician, the most talented in the family but he didn't care to pursue it. His art was with words but he could do so many other things. He was a true wit. He always made us laugh. I learned so much from Evan.  

  - John Scofield


We've been coming to Hatteras as a family since the beginning of time -- this is our leisure-land, always has been; a place where togetherness and relaxation is our agenda. Hatteras waves were Evan's favorite, where I think his love of water (and its creatures and culture and folklore) began. On this day in 2014, mom dug a hole on the familiar beach, scattered a bottle of ashes, and we all topped it with a sand castle. Scatters have happened all over the world, many at a water's edge. Evan's death is as enormous, powerful and eternal as the tides. Whenever I am near water, I take comfort knowing my brother's ashes are there, somewhere, connected to everything everywhere. Evan lives in the oceans now.

  - Jean Scofield Maxwell


One night during Evan’s last trip to Hatteras we set up a bonfire at the beach. Earlier that day I bought a couple ghoul masks at the local hardware store with a surprisingly decent kids stuff section. Evan and I decided that we were going to do a fire dance with the masks on. After we concluded our proxy ceremony, one of the most magnificent electrical storms I’ve ever seen rolled in over us. We all sat by the fire for hours, sipping whiskey and taking in the formidable display of lightning. As far as I’m concerned, we summoned that storm. Evan had this effect on people.

  - Alexander Maxwell


When I first met Evan his email address was poetorpirate@aol.com and he called his car the "Sea Beast". He had a serious dream of owning his own submarine with a crew being made up of his best friends. When we were 21 he announced his desire for a tattoo of a Kraken enveloping a ship from the depths of a dark ocean. He taught himself how to play and sing sea shanties on the banjo. He wanted to one day be in the Coast Guard. He read Ernest Shakelton's Endurance and forever admired the true story of him and his crew stuck on a frozen antarctic ocean, camping out on the ice for weeks before facing their inevitable death. In college Evan welded a belt buckle that looked like a whale and doubled as a knife. We took him sailing for his 25th birthday. He often boasted about being born on an island (Manhattan). A popular nickname for him among his friends was "The Commodore". Evan Scofield was forever hooked on the sea. His love for all things nautical ran deep and wide. Today it's not uncommon for me find something in everything that reminds me of Evan but nothing on earth represents his spirit more to me than the ocean. One of the few comforts I've experienced after Evan's death is sitting on a beach and imagining him swimming in the water, waving to let us know that he's never too far. Thank you Scofields for giving him Hatteras, where the sand was his empire and the sound of crashing waves his lullaby.  I'll never forget that late August morning when his family and I sat on the shore of his favorite piece of ocean in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and watched as the waves slowly retrieved his ashes, carrying them away and almost thanking us for bringing him back for one last eternal swim.

  - Ursula Strauss